Asian stocks recoup some losses as dollar gains

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By 2017-12-08

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday, as the Hang Seng Index and Nikkei 225 recouped some losses after falling around 2 per cent on Wednesday. Stateside, major indexes closed narrowly mixed as investors awaited tax reform developments.

Markets on the move

Japan's Nikkei 225 bounced 1.27 per cent after falling nearly 2 per cent in the previous session. Gains were seen across sectors, with automakers, tech and financial names all climbing higher. Energy-related plays were mixed after oil prices slid on Wednesday.
Across the Korean Strait, the benchmark Kospi index slipped 0.36 per cent. Gains in some tech heavyweights were offset by losses in the manufacturing and oil sectors. Blue-chip Samsung Electronics rose 0.32 per cent while steelmakers Posco and Hyundai Steel edged down 0.9 per cent and 0.49 per cent, respectively.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.57 per cent. The heavily-weighted financials sub-index gained 0.74 per cent as Australia's 'Big Four' banks recorded gains on the day: ANZ tacked on 0.78 per cent and Westpac rose 1.34 per cent. Major miners were mixed.
Greater China markets were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 per cent, clawing back gains after recording its largest fall in a year on Wednesday. Tech shares, however, continued to struggle — although Tencent added 1.86 per cent in early trade.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 0.25 per cent lower and the Shenzhen Composite edged down by 0.19 per cent.
Stateside, tech stocks finished higher on Wednesday although the S&P 500 closed below the flat line for the fourth consecutive day. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.16 per cent, or 39.73 points, to close at 24,140.91.

The lead up
President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the US would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move provoked sharp words from leaders in the Arab world, with a statement from Saudi Arabia calling the decision "irresponsible and unwarranted."
Tax reform was also high on the agenda after the US Senate voted on Wednesday to go to a conference committee with the House to negotiate a plan to reform the tax system after both chambers passed separate bills earlier this quarter.

The dollar firmed as investors digested the developments on Capitol Hill. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies, stood at 93.583 at 9:54 a.m. HK/SIN, its highest level in more than two weeks.

The dollar was slightly firmer against the yen, with the greenback last fetching 112.41 compared to Wednesday's close of 112.27. On the economic front, US private payrolls rose 190,000 in November, according to a monthly ADP/Moody's Analytics report on Wednesday. That figure was a touch above the 185,000 forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.

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